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Opening of new Thomas Jefferson HS delayed to November

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Thomas Jefferson High School in the West Jefferson Hills School District.
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Submitted
A rendering shows the concept for the atrium of the new Thomas Jefferson High School.

The new $95 million Thomas Jefferson High School won’t open in time for the start of the 2018-19 school year.

The 300,000-square-foot school, under construction on 161 acres off Old Clairton Road in Jefferson Hills, now is expected to open around Thanksgiving, West Jefferson Hills district Superintendent Michael Ghilani told board members at a public work session meeting Tuesday as leaders reviewed the 2018-19 school calendar.

“The dream of getting into the new high school on the first day of school has faded,” he said.

With that, plans to start the 2018-19 school year after Labor Day to allow for time to move into the new high school were scrapped. Instead, school will operate on a similar schedule to the 2017-18 school year, Ghilani said.

Board members are set to vote on the 2018-19 calendar at their 7:30 p.m. March 27 meeting in the Thomas Jefferson High School cafeteria, 310 Old Clairton Road.

To allow for teachers to transition to the new high school, an in-service day was added for Nov. 27. Students, then, would start classes at the new high school on Nov. 28 (the Wednesday after Thanksgiving break). School traditionally already is closed the Monday following Thanksgiving.

“Right now, that is our target,” Ghilani said.

A new creative studio media course that will allow students to create their own music in class, won’t start until second semester, as equipment needed for the class will be at the new high school, Principal Christopher Sefcheck said.

The only other class offering affected by the delay will be swimming, said Scott Milburn, assistant superintendent of secondary education.

The new high school will have an eight-lane swimming pool. The current high school does not have a pool.

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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